Very Best Tanzania & Kenya Lodge or camp


Apr 7th, 2004, 05:38 PM
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Very Best Tanzania & Kenya Lodge or camp

I have read many posts debating the most luxurious lodges in the south (Phinda, Londolozi, Singita, etc), but would be interested in anyone's opinion of Tanzania or Kenya's most luxurious lodge or camp. From my limited research it appears that the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is the winner here, but there must be others in that league. In other words, what is the ultimate Tanzania or Kenya experience? We are looking at Tortillis, Kirawira, Serena, TreeTops, etc. for our trip next summer, but would like one special splurge!
JazzDrew is offline  
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Apr 8th, 2004, 12:18 AM
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I think it depends on your definition of luxury.
If you read King's recent thread "Location, Location, Location" you'll see that, for many of us, camp size, location, guide quality and so forth are what make a camp truly special, much more so than high end decor and food.
What is most important to you in a camp/ lodge?
Kavey is offline  
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Apr 8th, 2004, 04:35 AM
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I think you've done your research and you have pretty well named the nicer camps. Since that is mostly what you are wanting, The Crater Lodge would seem to "top it off". Whether you have the ideal animal viewing areas however, depends on the time of year.
Where the wildebeest migration is generally dictates where the "action" is. But just for the nicer camps, from my experience, you got 'em. Liz
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Apr 8th, 2004, 05:47 AM
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JazzDrew - For the Northern Circuit in Tanzania, yes, the Crater Lodge at Ngorongoro is "over the top" - expensive, and guests tend to "dress" for dinner in their cute little dresses and jewelry; jackets and slacks for men, etc. (more like a night at the Tennis Club) If that's your liking while on safari - go for it.

In the Western Serengeti, Kirawira Camp (a Serena property) is outstanding, 5* all the way. With lovely tents, firm beds, beautiful furniture and brass finishings in the bathroms and bathrobes, a pool, excellent meals. A great place to be (June/July)as the wildebeest/zebra begin their movement up to the Mara.

In Kenya, Tortilis at Amboseli is lovely, with great attention by the staff, outstanding food, pool, large tents most all with views of Mt. Kili; though a bit more rustic in decor than the two above, but no less top rate.

The Serena properties are mostly lodges (exception is Kirawira) and if lodges is what you desire, these are probably the nicest, but generally priced mid-range.

As to Tree-tops, this is nothing special, and neither the Ark nor Treetops at Aberdare are luxurious, rather basic in every way; but are clean and is an interesting experience if you wish to stay up all night in hopes some animals will come to the saltlick to drink. If you wish to consider a "saltlick" experience think of the Serena Mountain Lodge, closer to Mt. Kenya, than Aberdares, but at least here you can drive direct to the lodge, whereas with the other two you leave the bulk of your luggage below at one of the country clubs, take only an overnite bag. Personally, I would pass on this experience - for me it wasn't more than a stop on our way up to Samburu (I actually caught up on my sleep, though partner stayed up and saw 2 animals at the saltlick).

At Samburu we stayed at Intrepid's with large tents, mahogony four-poster queen beds, lovely staff and attentive and great food/wine. A larger camp of about 25-tents, but because we traveled in November, only 2-tents occupied - which was great. There is also an Intrepid's in the Mara.

For luxury in the Mara - you can consider Kichwa Tembo Bateleur Camp (a CCAfrica property); Mara Explorer Camp (managed by first Masai woman); Shompole (located on border of K&T between the Mara and Namanga Border; and some Bush Homes on the outskirts of the Mara.

Speaking of Bush Homes - this might be the luxury you'd like. These Bush Homes are owned by residents of Kenya, many in the Northern Frontier (Laikipia / Mathews Range) area where one finds large ranches - being treated more like a house guest than a tourist. They provide game drives, some offer camelback safaris. However, there are many Bush Homes located in other areas. On the Bush Homes website there is a map showing where these are located and there are some in or near the major game parks/reserves throughout Kenya.

Because of the long distances to get to many of these Bush Homes, fly-ins have to be considered to/from and most are not covered by the regular Air Kenya flight schedules, rather you have to book special charters.

Personally, it's kind of nice to have a combination of accommodations - lodges and tent camps and different price-points. We, in fact, stayed at a tent camp when at the Mara that is rarely mentioned - Sekenani, which is right outside the Mara up in the hills, with rustic tents, basic furniture, no electricity, but an outstanding bathtub in each tent which was great for a soak after a long day on the bumpy/dusty roads. Meals served in a large tent accessed over a brook via a rope bridge, and served by Masai dressed in tuxedos, while guests attired in their regular safari clothing. Maybe 15-tents, of which 6 might have been occupied.

Well, I've given you a few options to consider and decide how much luxury you wish and whether throughout your trip or if only at certain stops.
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